The Atonement: Multifaceted Truth that Determines Doctrine and Affects Life

Greg Strand – April 18, 2014 4 Comments

Today we remember the death of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection are the heart of the gospel. Though we remember and celebrate these truths about Jesus Christ annually in the Christian year, they are truths that are at the heart of our Christian faith and lives. To consider that Jesus died in our place, on our behalf, for us and our sin, is overwhelming.

Ponder these Scriptures as you reflect on Jesus’ death being representative and substitutionary.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Romans 3:23-26

For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:3-4

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us– for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”–so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. Galatians 3:13-14

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:10

This is the heart of the gospel and it is of first importance for Christians and the Christian faith. Paul writes,

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you– unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 1 Corinthians 15:1-5

At our local EFC church we are studying the Atonement Thread in The Gospel Project. Not only is this material excellent, they have also provided additional resources that address different aspects of the atonement. Here are three: First, that “Christ died for our sins” is a truth that was foretold and foreshadowed in the Old Testament; second, the truth of the atonement is massive and multi-faceted; third, the atonement affects and determines every aspect of our Christian lives. I share these excellent resources with you.

Ed Stetzer, general editor of The Gospel Project, has posted a number of essays written by others focusing on The Atonement in the Old Testament.

Trevin Wax, managing editor of The Gospel Project, has posted a number of essays written by others focusing on the multi-faceted truth of the atonement under the theme The Theology of Atonement.

Finally, there are a number of essays that address The Atonement and the Christian Life. As you can see below, the series is yet to be completed.

Read. Learn. Give thanks. Worship.

Remember: it’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming!


Greg Strand


Affectionately called “Walking Bible” by his youngest daughter, Greg Strand has a ministry history that goes back to 1982. Since that time, he has served in local church ministry in a variety of ministry capacities: youth pastor, associate pastor of adult ministries and senior pastor. He is currently the EFCA's Executive Director of Theology and Credentialing. Greg reads voraciously and never stops learning — a passion reflected in the overflowing bookshelves that spill from his library to multiple offices. And he could tell you about each of those books! His hunger for learning pales in contrast to his great love for God and for teaching the Word of God.

4 responses to The Atonement: Multifaceted Truth that Determines Doctrine and Affects Life

  1. How can there be so many words on so many blogs? When will it ever stop and be simple again? Jesus died for a sinner like me. I’m so very, very tired of all the words and more words, whatever happened to the simple Gospel that a child could understand?

    I know you call us to be pastor/theologians, but I can’t be . . . I barely have the mind to understand the simple gospel, let alone to be able to some how restate the complete text of someone’s systematic theology.

    I’m sorry, I am truly not ranting, just longing for Jesus and Him alone.

    • That is what is important for you to rest in, Randal. But as you know, even though it is simple there is depth as well. The atonement and its truth is, as stated of the Gospel of John, shallow enough for an infant to wade it and yet deep enough such that an adult can swim.

      There are different aspects of these truths that are important, necessary and needed at different points in our lives. For you at this point it is important to remember this truth, stated by Jesus and sung in a children’s chorus: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16); “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

    • Thanks for the reminders.
      Have a blessed Resurrection Sunday!

  2. This is IT, the SUPERBOWL of our faith. The most joyous triumph of Good vs Evil. The Most Important Events of our Faith. At Our Church we invited the coMmunity to write their sins on paper and mail them to the cross. We erected that cross at the enertrance of the church. That Cross is more significant than the Pine tree we decorate in December.

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